Skip to main content
(310) 285-3005 Contact
Esophageal Cancer: Risks, Symptoms and Treatments ,
woman with sore throat

Esophageal cancer is a serious and potentially life-threatening disease that affects the esophagus, the muscular tube that connects the throat to the stomach. It is often diagnosed at an advanced stage, making it challenging to treat. Understanding the risks, symptoms and treatment options for esophageal cancer is crucial for early detection and improved outcomes.

Risks for Esophageal Cancer

Several factors can increase the risk of developing esophageal cancer. These include:

  • Tobacco and Alcohol Use: Smoking tobacco and heavy alcohol consumption are significant risk factors for esophageal cancer. The combination of smoking and drinking greatly increases the risk compared to either factor alone.
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): Chronic acid reflux, a condition characterized by stomach acid backing up into the esophagus, can lead to inflammation and damage to the esophageal lining, increasing the risk of cancer.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese can raise the risk of developing esophageal cancer, particularly a type known as adenocarcinoma.
  • Dietary Factors: A diet low in fruits and vegetables and high in processed meats, fried foods, and spicy foods may increase the risk of esophageal cancer.
  • Age and Gender: Esophageal cancer is more common in older adults, with the risk increasing with age. Men are also more likely than women to develop esophageal cancer.


Esophageal cancer often does not cause symptoms in its early stages. However, as the cancer progresses, individuals may experience:

  • Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia): One of the most common symptoms of esophageal cancer is difficulty swallowing, particularly solid foods.
  • Unintentional Weight Loss: As swallowing becomes more difficult, individuals may experience weight loss without trying.
  • Chest Pain or Pressure: Pain or discomfort in the chest or back may occur, especially when swallowing.
  • Heartburn or Indigestion: Chronic heartburn or indigestion, particularly if it does not improve with over-the-counter medications, may be a sign of esophageal cancer.
  • Hoarseness or Cough: Hoarseness, chronic cough, or a persistent sore throat may indicate esophageal cancer that has spread to the throat.

Treatment Options

Treatment for esophageal cancer depends on the stage of the disease and may include:

  • Surgery: Surgical removal of the cancerous tissue is often recommended for early-stage esophageal cancer. This may involve removing a portion of the esophagus (esophagectomy) or the entire esophagus (esophagectomy).
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses powerful drugs to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. It may be used before surgery (neoadjuvant chemotherapy) to shrink the tumor or after surgery (adjuvant chemotherapy) to kill any remaining cancer cells.
  • Radiation Therapy: Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to destroy cancer cells. It may be used alone or in combination with chemotherapy to treat esophageal cancer.
  • Targeted Therapy: Targeted therapy drugs target specific molecules involved in cancer growth and progression. They may be used in combination with chemotherapy for advanced esophageal cancer that has not responded to other treatments.
  • Palliative Care: Palliative care focuses on relieving symptoms and improving the quality of life for individuals with advanced esophageal cancer. It may include pain management, nutritional support and emotional support for patients and their families.

Esophageal cancer is a serious disease that requires prompt diagnosis and treatment. Knowing the risks, symptoms, and treatment options for esophageal cancer can help individuals seek medical attention early, improving their chances of successful treatment and survival.

If you experience any symptoms of esophageal cancer, such as difficulty swallowing or unexplained weight loss, it is essential to consult with your primary care provider, who may refer you to a gastroenterologist for evaluation and appropriate management. Early detection and intervention can make a significant difference in the outcome of esophageal cancer. David P Yamini, MD, is a highly experienced gastroenterologist who can provide the most advanced treatment options for patients with esophageal cancer. Contact his office in Santa Monica, CA, to schedule an esophageal cancer evaluation and consultation.

Posted on behalf of David P. Yamini, MD

Los Angeles Magazine Top Doctors 2019 Los Angeles Magazine Top Doctors 2020

Schedule a consultation

Our Patient Reviews

David P. Yamini, MD

4.9 / 5.0

Based on 58 reviews

Nicole R.

Scheduling was extremely easy with Dr. Yamini's staff, I scheduled my Tuesday appointment on Monday afternoon. The staff and Dr. Yamini were courteous and straightforward - even with new patient paperwork I was out the door within an hour!

Bill C.

Dr. Yamini definitely is a great doctor who is very thorough and detail oriented with his diagnosis. He is very passionate about what he does and was able to answer any question or concern. He took his time before my appointment to look through all the documentation to know exactly what was going on. He definitely was able to put me at ease even though I was very worried. I am very satisfied with his services. Thanks!

Mario O.

He was very gentle about my situation yet did not fail to emphasize about the seriousness that could arise from gastrointestinal problems. Few and far between are as professional and caring as Dr. Yamini and his staff. I was 20 minutes late on Friday evening & they still had me in a room in 5 minutes as a new patient.

Lisa P.

I can’t say enough great things about my first impression of this doctor and his amazing staff! They got me right in and set me up for everything needed. I’ve been looking for the right GI doctor for years having had a very negative experience with another doctor years ago. Dr. Yamini is not only professional, knowledgeable, respectful, and experienced... this guy is “cool” and nice too! His front desk person, Toni was amazing! She was kind, bright, efficient, patient, and positive! ??

Kendall S.

Makes talking about uncomfortable subjects a breeze. Competent and honest: doesn't sell vitamin cleanses and his own probiotics or anything like that. Makes sure your symptoms aren't half-fixed but fully fixed. Gets to the heart of the issue quickly. Good listener. Very sweet receptionist. I hate receiving many phone calls, and she's persistent about making sure you set up an appointment; it was stressing me out. I found the her much easier to connect with once she gave me her cell and said to text.

Babak E.

Thank you Dr. Yamini and Tony. When it comes to patient care and professionalism, I have never received this much care and attention from a physician and the staff. I was able to talk to Dr. Yamini for good period of time allowing me to ask all my questions. Tony you are so cute thank you for scheduling me in last minute.

Kyle K.

I highly recommend Dr. Yamini. He's very personable and actually listens to your issues and concerns, then recommends a reasonable course of action. He was able to properly diagnose my symptoms and get me healthy again. Also his admin Toni is great too, she will help select a facility and verify that your insurance will fully cover. She's really nice and trustworthy as well!

Eric W.

Thorough doctor who cares about his patients, and very meticulous about the details of your ailment. Clearly very knowledgeable and skilled. No wait time for appointments, and the nurse (Toni) is very friendly and follows up appropriately. One of the best doctor experiences I've had and I'd recommend it to anyone.

Office Hours


8:30AM - 5:30PM


8:30AM - 5:30PM


8:30AM - 5:30PM


8:30AM - 5:30PM


8:30AM - 5:30PM





Contact Us

Santa Monica Office

2001 Santa Monica Blvd #1286
Santa Monica, CA 90404

(310) 285-3005

(310) 935-1560

Beverly Hills Office

8920 Wilshire Blvd, Ste. 310
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

(310) 953-3550

(310) 935-1560